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Senior Wisdom: Yanyi Luo

Yanyi Luo

Yanyi Luo

Your week just got two times better: we’re doubling up on Senior Wisdoms, since there are just too many wise graduates out there with stories to share. The first senior today: Yanyi Luo, designer extraordinaire (including of Bwog). 

Name, Hometown, School: Yanyi Luo — Glen Carbon, IL (most recently) but Zigong, China (to be accurate) — Columbia College, Information Science and Comparative Media Theory.

Claim to fame? I like music (Live at Lerner 2011-2012 coordinator; Columbia Music Festival; occasional DJ), words (poetry; punning around over coffee), code (HackColumbia, web development), and putting them all together (every digital humanities seminar ever offered these past four years). I’m also a designer, the outgoing CCSC Vice President of Campus Life, a member of the Puppy Coalition, and a friend.

Where are you going? Downtown a little bit to work as a software engineer here in the city; into the arms of a huge library that will someday exist in my apartment; into the lives and conversations of genuine, good people whom I have met here, and whom I have yet to meet.

3 things you learned at Columbia:

  • A question: “What is a good life?”; that I must ask it and have a reason to ask it again and again for the rest of my life; that I will never be equipped to answer it fully, completely; that its answer will never exist in a vacuum from the world.
  • People cherish deep pleasure that has no meaning (laughter), and meaning—truth—which contains in itself pleasure. There is nothing more magnificent than being brave and giving someone both, or making art where someone can find them.
  • It’s not what you do, but who you are, that follows you. People know you by your face in the crowd, not your screenname or your resume. Who have you been? Who are you now? How do you relate to humanity; to history; to love? Show that to yourself and to the world, and your dreams will follow after.

Back in my day…MiMoo was just appointed Dean of CC; winters were generous for snowball fights; First Friday had alcohol and more Lady Gaga; we read the Richard Lattimore translation of The Iliad; John Jay did not stock Nutella, but it did have tungsten lights.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Not to get all Hegelian about this, but we won’t know until the end, will we?

Write a CU admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: John Jay 14 (2009–2010): Every time I hang out with all of you, it still feels like some slice of home. What a year we had and what years we’ve had. Thank you for being my first family here. You all deserve the fucking best.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Both arguments would have holes in them.

One thing to do before graduating: You came to Columbia with your head full of dreams and the talent to make some of them happen. A million opportunities will spring up and many of them will be rabbit holes. You will commit to something whose responsibilities you don’t fully understand, and what you thought would take five minutes will take a day; a week; a year. Makes choices. Cut back. It’s not that you can’t have it all; you don’t want it all. Try everything once and make routines for what you love and who you love, whether it’s dinner or films or drinks.

Any regrets? No.

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  • Inspired First Year says:

    @Inspired First Year I saw you at the Quarto release party and really enjoyed your readings, as well as the fact that you were rocking a bow tie. You seem really chill and I hope you keep being awesome!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I had the pleasure of taking an O’Keeffe French class with Yanyi. I call it a pleasure because, despite the fact that we only really talked at the end of the class and didn’t see her around after, it’s really something to be around someone like her.

  • njr says:

    @njr A+ answer to “oral sex or cheese,” Yanyi. Much love.

  • JJ Fourteenie says:

    @JJ Fourteenie Yanyi, you are one of the greatest people Columbia luckily acquired and I am SO happy I met you. Every little mini-chat I have with you whenever we run into each other is so genuine and it’s all because you’re an incredibly caring person. I will definitely miss you.

    1. jj14 says:

      @jj14 jj14 fo’ life!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Richmond Lattimore**

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Marketing marketing marketing

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous comp sci is dumb.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous ok

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous while i wouldnt use the word ‘dumb’ i get what they’re getting at, if they’re talking about her senior wisdom… it’s kind of really contrived….

  • What says:

    @What freshmen don’t read lattimore anymore?

    1. M. says:

      @M. They made CC’15 read the Fitzgerald, because apparently it’s easier to read (if that’s your argument, why not just pick the goddamned Fagles?). ’twas a disaster, and they switched back to Lattimore this year.

      1. Ehh says:

        @Ehh Fagles’s Iliad has some undeniable deficiencies, but his Aeneid… oh my. Dat phrasing, dem ablative absolutes. /swoon

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous This should be a permanent Bwog favorite comment!!!!

  • I have never met her.... says:

    @I have never met her.... but I really wish I had, she seems like a great person, effervescent, bubbling off joy in all directions.

  • no regrets? says:

    @no regrets? what about making bwog white and blinding me!

    1. Alex says:

      @Alex That was 100% on us.

  • bjw2119 says:

    @bjw2119 Best oral sex answer in a long time…

    Plus, Yanyi is an absolute bawss who has never stopped dedicating enormous quantities of time to improving all of her classmates’ lives. She was incredibly innovative in really making Live @ Lerner as good as it is today, and her battle of the bands idea for CCSC will hopefully become an awesome campus tradition.

    Yanyi, I stand in awe of your enormous energy, huge heart, and unending supply of creative ideas.


    1. rd says:

      @rd you know how much i love you and how great you are, but let me state the obvious, as per usual: YOU ARE ONE OF THE BEST FUCKING HUMANS OUT THERE. Thank you.
      p.s. gruyère really isn’t the best out there ;-)



  • aej says:

    @aej You are a wonderful, driven person, and I wish you all the success with your many projects!

  • erb says:

    @erb This was brilliant. Yanyi, you are an inspiration, and I only wish I had gotten to know you better.

  • TB says:

    @TB Yanyi, you’re awesome. Thanks for all that you do.

  • RJ says:

    @RJ YANYI! You are the best. Everyone is blessed to have you in their lives.

  • Jared O. says:

    @Jared O. The person who has undeniably had the biggest impact on my time at Columbia. Love love love you.

  • khw says:

    @khw Yanyi, you are a wonder(ful human being/poet/force/friend). Thanks for everything.

  • JA says:

    @JA Yanyi! Such glory. Such beautiful words. Thank you always.

  • KL says:

    @KL Yanyi I don’t know you very well but your “One thing to do before graduating” really stuck with me. Thank you.

  • I feel says:

    @I feel so lucky to have met you!

  • Steve C. says:

    @Steve C. Witty and profound, as you always are.

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